Volunteers help with school fundraising

St Mary's Academy gappers : James is second row, far right and Hannah is in the first row, second left.
St Mary's Academy gappers : James is second row, far right and Hannah is in the first row, second left.
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A Blackpool school is playing host to young volunteers who have left their homes to do charity work with pupils.

James Ronan, 23, a geography graduate from Plymouth, and Hannah Henley, 18, from Newcastle have moved to Blackpool to spent their gap year working alongside youngsters at St Mary’s Academy with the Catholic aid agency CAFOD

They will be supporting students at St Mary’s and in local primary schools, sharing CAFOD’s work and helping with fundraising activities.

James said: “Six years ago I would have never had imagined I would be where I am today.

“I first began volunteering with CAFOD in 2010 and since then, I have helped fundraise, have taken part in numerous rallies and lobbies, and even travelled to London ‘for the Love of’ Parliament Lobby last year.

“This year, I hope to use my skills and knowledge at St Mary’s, where I’ll be part of the chaplaincy team, to put my faith into action and be part of that ‘Great Generation’ Nelson Mandela talked about.”

Hannah said: “I am really excited to start but also a little scared as I’ve left home for the first time.

“I’m bursting with ideas. I’d love to get CAFOD’s message across using crafts and videos as well as resources, so that the young people I’m working with can really engage with what we are trying to do.”

They have been raising awareness of the charity’s work by talking to the local community about the Harvest Appeal.

The annual fund raising campaign this year focused on families in the South American country of Bolivia whose crops and livelihoods have been impacted by an increase of extreme weather. CAFOD’s partners are working to provide greenhouses to protect crops and train communities with new farming techniques to help them to grow more food. Last year the school raised more than £1,200

The school held a host of activities from quizzes, fairground games and taste tests to Brighten Up the lives of children and young people across the world as part of the Harvest campaign.

One of the highlights of the week, which Hannah helped organise was a staff talent show.

She said: “The staff at St. Mary’s are clearly a talented bunch.”